We’re big on self expression, self care and living life freely and to the fullest here at The WYLD Shop – it’s our very reason for being. And beyond living a life that promotes pleasure in all its forms, we strongly believe that being attuned to our sensuality and sexual wellbeing impacts so many areas of our life, from our sense of self to our relationships.
Besides, Smile Makers’ brightly coloured vibrators with tongue-in-cheek names like The French Lover and The Billionaire always draw a giggle and a knowing smile from visitors to our Joo Chiat boutique. You know what we’re talking about.
We sat down for an enlightening chat and totally taboo-free chat with Cecile Gasnault, Brand Director, and Ariel Chan, Asia Brand Manager, who have helped Smile Makers carry out its mission to normalise female sexual health promote pleasure positivity since its early days as a Singapore start-up.
The mission has been a huge success: Smile Makers has made sex toys mainstream, available in 23 countries around the world, in over 4000 outlets including platforms such as Goop, online supermarkets and pharmacies here in Singapore. And of course, they star in lifestyle boutiques like The WYLD Shop.
Cecile reveals that surveys showed 60% of women in Singapore are interested in using vibrators, and in fact 35% of us are already using them. Are you still ‘vi-curious’? Here’s what you need to know…
First, some hard truths
Let’s take these eye-opening facts head on:
- In the UK, only half of women and men surveyed can correctly identify parts of the vulva; and almost 40% incorrectly labelled the clitoris.
- According to Smile Makers, 30% of college-age women can’t locate the clitoris in an anatomy chart.
- Here in Singapore, KKH Women’s and Children’s Hospital has found that nearly 60% of women in Singapore have low sexual function.
Are adult toys part of the solution? “Absolutely,” Cecile shares. “Along with education, getting to know your body and exploring your sexuality safely this way makes a difference.”
“We support the mission of female empowerment and want to tackle the taboo around female sexuality,” she adds. “We believe this will help to not only further the physical and emotional health benefits of sexual wellness, but counter the negative societal effects of sexual dysfunction.”
Cecile and Ariel are passionate about Smile Makers' work in this space – the brand participates in educational community events, and launched a free online course, The Vulva Talks, to help educate women on their sexual anatomy, overcome taboos and normalise female sexual pleasure.
Sex toys aren’t just for stimulation: they’re about wellbeing
As Cecile emphasises, adult toys are about much more than eliciting a giggle — or gasps of intense pleasure. They are tools for supporting sexual health.
The World Health Organization agrees, advocating that sexual health is crucial for overall wellbeing. According to WHO, sexual health is “not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences.”
Cecile shares one particularly moving experience with a customer, who reached out to share that Smile Makers had helped her regain a positive relationship with her body and enjoy sex after repeat pregnancy loss. It was a message that reinforced just how important sex-positive messages are, and strengthened Smile Makers’ commitment to creating meaningful content as well as a product that makes a positive difference.
Adult toys are tasteful
Case in point: our in-depth chat with Cecile and Ariel took place in a crowded cafe with one of Smile Makers’ most popular designs, The Poet, on prominent display on our table. Nobody batted an eyelid. Sure, it’s purple and shaped like a rosebud. But that’s the point: sex toys don't have to be vulgar.
The other stars of the Smile Makers range don’t look like your average vibrator either. From the very shape of these adult toys (take The Firefighter, with a flat, flame-shaped tip) to their bright colours (vibrant yellow, coral and violet), these are aesthetically pleasing, and feel great to the touch, on purpose. Legend has it the founders of Smile Makers, Mattias Hulting and Peder Wikstrom, came up with the brand concept after being put off by the aggressive designs of toys they’d encountered when looking for products that would appeal to their partners. What they created was the antithesis of the traditional vibrator – and it's proven to be what women want.
These adult toys involve serious tech
A lot of thought goes into making these vibrators a pleasure to use. “Everything from the way it feels in your hand, to exactly where the buttons are placed and the beautiful, velvety touch of the silicone has been considered,” shares Cecile.
Another thoughtful touch: the power of the motors have to be powerful enough to provide pleasure, but without causing a serious racket. In fact, The Poet, an air pulse clitoral massager, is silent. It’s an impressive piece of tech featuring interchangeable ‘mouths’, suction technology and squeeze sensors to adjust intensity. Next time you’re enjoying a session with your Smile Maker, take a moment to appreciate the design thinking and engineering that’s gone into it.
It’s time to smash the stigma around sex toys to pieces
“If I could help change people’s minds about a single thing, it would be the idea that women don’t need a vibrator because they have a partner,” says Ariel.
Let’s get this straight: sex toys aren’t for single women. Smile Makers designs its products for the female experience: these are tools created for women to feel empowered to understand and indulge in their sexual pleasure. And, interestingly, Ariel shares that surveys by Smile Makers found that more married women than single women shared their interest in using their product. “This shows they serve a good purpose in retaining a healthy sex life in married life,” adds Cecile.
For Cecile, it’s important to bust another big myth. “The female orgasm is not a mystery,” she says. “It’s well documented and women are able to experience it on their own; but not always with a partner.” In fact, in heterosexual relationships, women have been found to experience fewer orgasms than men. University of Florida professor Dr Laurie Mintz, an author and advocate for orgasm equality, calls this the “orgasm gap”. According Mintz, this has been created by the “cultural ignorance of the clitoris” – the only organ in the human body solely responsible for sexual pleasure.
If orgasm has been elusive, it’s your moment to claim ownership of your pleasure – and know that women around the world are doing the same. It’s your right.
Curious to find out what’s your vibe? Check out the full Smile Makers range.